It is difficult to coordinate a firefight against Afghan insurgents when the military-issued walkie-talkies do not allow you to speak to your entire platoon. This challenge inspired the former special-forces sergeant, Tom Katis, to co-found Voxer, an application that diversifies the channels through which one phone can communicate with another. His company, founded in 2007, positions itself to be the leading platform for effective, secure communication with additional productivity enhancements to supplement its utility. It provides many of the same services a standard smart phone may come with en suite – including group texts, location and photo sharing, and recorded voice messages – with group-chatting, walkie-talkie mode, and military-grade encryption for communication that can extend beyond a standard network.
Although Voxer attributes the bulk of its growth through word-of-mouth channels, engendered by its high-profile attention through TechCrunch, their online presence primarily targets a younger audience (for their free services) and small, geographically-diffuse businesses (for the pay-service). The walkie-talkie mode has proved particularly resonant with individuals in their late teens and early twenties through the help of sports icons like Kevin Durant and musical heartthrobs like Harry Styles who both have shown affinity for the app. In the B2B space, their promotional materials boast of the efficiency gains that the New York-based company Future Cab has gained through use of the Voxer platform.
Voxer’s value seems to lie in its functionality to both young consumers and businesses as the premier multi-channel communication platform because of its trans-local, scalable, and dynamic capabilities. At first blush it would appear that the eight year-old company has not stormed the market, but in fact they have met with a great deal of success. Their viral campaigns, presence in print and online media, and Dropbox-like customer acquisition strategy has proved fruitful, roping in legions of customers in the US, Germany, England, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Canada. However, this strategy may struggle as the company focuses its growth strategy toward government, medical, and corporate segments, three areas that tend toward more conventional, 20th century channels to be marketed toward.